Kapela Maliszów (The Malisz Band) is a family folk band from Męcina Mała in the Low Beskids, founded by the multi-instrumentalist Jan Malisz, who also acts as the composer of the group's original musical pieces. Most of his compositions are inspired by the music of the Carpathians, but the band's repertoire also includes interpretations of traditional tunes.
Contemporary family folk band
Jan Malisz's father, Józef, worked as a wedding fiddler as far back as the 1930s. He passed on his music playing skills, as well as his instrument, to Jan, who eventually founded his own band. Józef also gave his son some lessons in accordion and mandolin. The band also uses a baraban (drum) which Józef Malisz made back in the 1950s. Having spent years with various bands from the Pogórze region, Jan was able to learn many tunes from older musicians. Nevertheless, the lessons from his father ended up having the most influence on him.
My father always told me: play whatever you want. And if you have nothing to play, just make up new tunes. When you know how to create melodies, you will have as many of them as you want, and you won't need to learn from anyone else.
– Jan Malisz said on the air of the Polish Radio Programme II.
That explains why his band plays so many original compositions. Apart from Jan, the core lineup of the band includes his children, Kacper (fiddle) and Zuzanna (cello, drum, vocals). In its expanded form, the band also features Edyta Marć (drum and vocals) and Jan's another son, Dariusz (double bass). The idea was that the smaller line-up would perform traditional tunes from the Żywiec region, while the large one – music from the Carpathians.
Kapela Maliszów draws inspiration from the traditional music of the Carpathian peoples. It also reaches for the Balkan traditions (from Romania, Serbia, Macedonia). More recently, the band turned to the music of its original region – the border of Beskids and Pogórze – and started focusing on traditional dances and ditties from the Gorlice county.
– they write about themselves on their Soundcloud page.
This region used to be a melting pot of Polish, Lemko, Hungarian, and Jewish cultures. As an introduction to their performance at All The World's Mazurkas (Wszystkie Mazurki Świata) festival, the artists presented an example of a tune for each of the Pogórze nationalities: polka sideways (csárdás) – from Hungary, the Sabbath polka – a Jewish melody, and a Lemko śpiwanka (the word for a song in the Lemko language). They also play dance tunes endemic to Pogórze: haciok, furtok, drąg, kulawy, polka uciekana, polka suwiec. Apart from fiddle, Jan also plays cello, accordion, hurdy-gurdy, guitar, lute, mandolin, and pipes. Kacper Malisz, who plays the lead fiddle, has already started following his father's footsteps and written his first tunes for the band.
In 2013 the band (performing as Jan Malisz and Children, so just the three-person lineup) won the Main Prize and Audience Award at the Old Tradition (Stara Tradycja) competition during the All The World's Mazurkas festival in Warsaw. They also received the Main Prize at the Festival of Folk Bands and Singers in Kazimierz Dolny, while Kacper won the Special Award at the Sabałowe Bajania festival in Bukowina Tarzańska, “for a very interesting interpretation of a tune from his region and for the laying technique.”
In 2014, the band placed second in the New Tradition (Nowa Tradycja) festival's competition, and Kacper Malisz received Golden Gusle (Złote Gęśle) Award for Best Instrumentalist. At the end of the same year, the band won the Scena Otwarta competition for emerging performers at the Mikołajki Folkowe festival “for spectacular performance and creation grounded in the tradition of family music playing.”
The Malisz family has played at numerous festivals: Lviv Flugers, Karpaty OFFer in Nowy Sącz, Cepeliada in Kraków, the Bonawentura Festival of Travel and Adventure, and Galicja Gnojnica Festival. In 2014, they performed at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw in front of the President and the First Lady – on the occasion of the Oskar Kolberg Year celebrations, they performed Poland's oldest ceremonial song: Oj chmielu, chmielu.
wszystkie mazurki świata
all the world's mazurkas
oj chmielu chmielu
wild music from the heart of poland
- 2010 - Lot na Karpatami (début)
- 2015 - Mazurki Niepojęte
Author: Jacek Świąder, May 2015, transl. Ania Micińska, June 2015